In every walk in with nature, one receives far more than he seeks – John Muir.
The feeling of our mind settling into a state of calm when we listen to flowing water in a stream, leaves rustling in the wind or chirping of the birds has been scientifically proven to have a curative effect on our psyche. According to a new study, they physically modify the connections in our brain cells and generate hormones called endorphins that help in reducing our body’s natural fight or flight instincts.
When listening to nature sounds, the brain connectivity generated an outward directed focus of attention that is co-related with relaxation and mental state of calm and listening to artificial sounds such as sounds of traffic and other noises heard in a metropolitan environment generated an inward directed focus of attention associated with depression, anxiety and high stress levels in post-traumatic stress disorder. In comparison to artificial sounds, nature sounds generated increased rest – digest nervous system activity (linked to body relaxation mechanism) and also enabled a better productivity in task performance and monitoring.
Being a part of nature or even hearing sounds associated with nature decreases anxiety, fear and stress and helps in promoting holistic improvement of our physical well-being by helping in reducing our heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tension.
In a recent study conducted by Ulrich, Kim and Cervinka, 95% of the volunteers claimed that spending time in nature or creating an environment with nature sounds has transformed their state of mind from stressed, anxious and depressed to calm and clear headedness. By promoting psychological well-being, it thereby enhances our work life balance.
Time spent in nature enables us to stay connected to our peers and the larger world, suggested a study which exhibited that when volunteers viewed and heard nature, the part of their brain associated with love and empathy lit up.
Originating from Japan, Forest bathing is simply being in nature. It is breathing in fresh air, feeling the warmth of sunlight through canopy, hearing distinct bird sounds, just staying connected to the nature around through our sense of smell, touch, sight, hearing and taste. It helps you take a breather, slow down and detox from tech-savvy life. It will bring you into the present moment and de-stress and relax you. Multiple forest bathing studies have demonstrated its ability to significantly reduce blood pressure, stress levels and pulse rate. It boosts your energy levels and significantly improves your sleep cycle.
There is something about the quiet, calm of nature that is soothing. Having your favorite cup of coffee with trees and pleasant bird sounds around adds significantly to your daily dose of positive energy.